Introducing friends to the sport of sledding can renew your own enthusiasm, as Kris Mutcher, president of the Whiteshell Snowmobile Club, can attest.
“Taking out new riders gives me a new appreciation for what we have right at our door, especially in the Whiteshell area,” said Mutcher. “It’s a beautiful part of the country and we have an amazing trail system.”
He said he finds that sometimes a person can take it all for granted, but showing someone new the terrain reminds him of how incredible this region is for sledding.
“(You) get to experience it through their thoughts and comments,” said Mutcher. “I’ll think, ‘Wow—this really is something pretty fantastic.’ ”
Mutcher said that the sledders in the club are very careful when taking new riders out, because although a snowmobile is in some ways easy to ride and a person can feel comfortable quite quickly, they can soon find themselves going too fast in a corner—or a similar situation. With new riders, he said, they try and set a comfortable pace and not push people beyond their limits. And they have experienced riders both leading the way and following behind.
“A huge component of our club and the riding in the Whiteshell area is family centred,” said Mutcher. “At any time, you will see riders from the ages of five to 75 at our nine warm-up shelters situated throughout the park. The shelters are the hub for lunchtime cookouts and meeting up with other riders.”
Just shy of 400 members, the Whiteshell Snowmobile Club is an active group with many hard-working volunteers who are passionate about the sport. The club is also enjoying the benefits of younger riders now getting involved, giving the longtime members a chance to relax and enjoy the benefits of their years of volunteer work.
“Snowmobiling is a fun, social event and it’s a great way to meet new people,” said Mutcher, “so we try and organize a few club rides a year—giving people a reason to meet up and go for a ride together.”